Health workers on the frontlines of battling the coronavirus pandemic will receive additional benefits based on two directives issued by President Duterte.

nurses - Health workers to receive additional benefits –Palace
(Manila Bulletin file photo)

The President signed Administrative Order No. 35 allowing the grant of active hazard duty pay (AHDP) of up to P3,000 per month to frontline human resources for health (HRHs) in the public sector during the state of national emergency.

Private and public health workers in contact with coronavirus patients will also receive a monthly COVID-19 special risk allowance of up to P5,000 under a separate AO No. 36 issued by the President.

The two latest benefits for health frontliners will be sourced from the P13.5 billion allocation for health-related responses to COVID-19 under Republic Act No. 11494 or the “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.”

Under AO 36, the President gave the green light to government agencies and local government units to grant the monthly COVID-19 special risk allowance to public and private health workers who directly provide treatment and care to coronavirus patients. The benefit will also be exempt from income tax.

“There is a need to recognize the heroic and invaluable contributions of our public health workers throughout the country, who bravely and unselfishly risk their lives and health by being at the forefront of the national effort to address the public health emergency,” the order read.

Covered by the COVID-19 special risk allowance are public health workers, who occupy regular, contractual or casual positions assigned in hospitals and other medical facilities, provide critical and urgent health care services, and physically report to work. Also entitled to the benefit are private health workers assigned in designated COVID-19 hospitals, laboratories or medical and quarantine facilities.

In another AO, the President said frontline human resources for health such as medical, allied medical and other personnel in the public sector involved in the national health care response will be entitled to active hazard duty pay. The benefit will be in addition to any similar benefits under existing laws and will also be exempt from income tax.

“HRHs, whose services are essential in our fight against COVID-19, and who physically report to the frontlines in the fulfillment of their duties, are inevitably exposed to health risks and hazards,” the order read.

Both COVID special risk allowance and active hazard duty pay will be pro-rated based on the number of days the frontliners physically report for work in a month.

The two administrative orders signed by the President Monday, will take effect immediately after publication in the Official Gazette or a newspaper.

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